Back in January I was working in Birmingham, delivering another ted Learning Special Assignment, as I have been on and off over the previous couple of months.
I was struck by the number of homeless people in the city centre.
As do many other people, I walked on by. I suppose trying to pretend that I hadn’t noticed. But I did notice.
I’d finished my day’s work and headed to New Street Station to catch the train home.
As I had time on my hands the intention was to have a cup of tea while waiting for the train.
I approached the station and again I saw a homeless man, sitting on the ground in the cold and wet, trying to keep warm.
I walked past as I had done over the previous couple of days. I continued for about 25 metres and then stopped. I couldn’t just walk past and ignore this man. I made a choice to do some something small which I hoped would make a difference to his day.
I retraced my steps, “Hi, can I get you a hot drink?”
“Coffee please, that’s really kind. Thank you”.
I went into Cafe Nero, ordered a coffee, a toasted sandwich and some biscuits. That was the easy bit, in my mind, it wasn’t enough. I wanted to do that little bit more.
I went back to deliver the coffee and food to a very grateful man. I could have left it there and gone back inside to have my tea. I didn’t. Instead I made a choice to sit down with ‘Alex’ while I waited for my train. We talked, about nothing in particular, we laughed and smiled. When it was time to go to we shook hands and wished each other well.
My wish is that my simple act of kindness, in some small way I had positively affected another person’s life, providing some hope to a man who, for a reason I don’t know, found himself in a vulnerable situation.